When Rivers Meet is a husband and wife duo formed by Grace and Aaron Bond. The band released its debut album, We Fly Free, in November of 2020 and the album was voted #9 on Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 Albums of 2020. Blues Rock Review caught up with When Rivers Meet to learn more about the band’s beginnings, the debut album, and their quick rise in blues rock.
How did When Rivers Meet begin?
As a couple, we’ve been playing music together for several years. But it’s only in the last two years that we got serious about our music and delved deep into the blues rock genre. We released The Uprising EP in September 2019, followed by our second EP, Innocence Of Youth, in May 2020, along with our debut album We Fly Free in November 2020.
We converted an old VW van and started touring all over the country playing as many gigs as we could. We were told so many times we wouldn’t be able to play blues rock as a duo and that we would need a band. That inspired us even more to make it work and do something different. We wanted to see what people thought of our new sound especially as we love everything about playing live. We love the fact that we get to play these gigs together and having these experiences as a couple. We’re very lucky.
You have done a really good job using social media to build an audience in a relatively quick amount of time. Any advice for artists looking to use social media to build an audience?
We have! It’s been a crazy year. When all our gigs got cancelled at the beginning of the year along will all our other fellow musicians, we decided to put 100% effort into online and social media. We hadn’t left our day jobs very long to become full-time musicians, so it felt like sink or swim.
Since March when we started doing weekly live streams, we’ve seen our audience grow steadily throughout lockdown. We enjoy interacting with people and we have now created a strong community of support online. Our fans call themselves “the Rapids”, and many friendships have been made through our live streams and Fan Group on Facebook. It’s been very special.
You have had a lot of success with live performances on Facebook Live. How much has that helped to stay connected with the fans and just to keep sane during this crazy time?
OMG! We don’t know what we would’ve done without our Saturday night live streams. They’ve totally kept us sane. Without having a performance to look forward to every week and the structure of rehearsing for it we would’ve been completely lost. Especially in a time where people haven’t been able to go out to gigs, we’ve tried to fill that void.
The debut album We Fly Free is pretty new and has received a very strong response. It made Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 Albums of 2020 and has been getting rave reviews. How many nerves were there with this being the debut album and how rewarding has the response been?
When we were in the studio recording the album, we were completely chilled and had lots of confidence in what we were doing. As soon as we got to the mixing stage, we started to think more about what people would think and that’s when the nerves kicked in. We’ve built up such an awesome following. There was pressure to get it right and we didn’t want to let people down. As soon as the positive reviews started to come in, we felt a massive relief, and even more so when our fans received their copies and we got more great feedback.
We were so chuffed to make Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 albums. We honestly never dreamt we’d be able to achieve this with our first album!
Was it a difficult choice to put out the debut album during the pandemic?
It really wasn’t. We had planned to release the album in September 2020 but due to COVID we had to delay going into the studio, so the release date got pushed back to November. As we couldn’t go out and gig it felt like a perfect time to hunker down in the studio and focus all our energies on recording. There’s been extra complications releasing the album during the pandemic, but everybody is in the same situation and we tried to focus on what we were able to do rather than what we weren’t able to do.
Describe your sound for listeners who are new to your music.
We are really inspired by Classic Rock from the 1970s and traditional Blues. The album is pretty hi-energy, lots of gritty slide blues guitar and Grace sings the majority lead vocals. During the recording process, we were keen to keep things as live as possible. We didn’t want the album to be too polished or over produced. Adam Bowers who produced the album and both our EPs is very spontaneous with his recording techniques. We used lots of old tape delay and valve amps to get a very organic sound.
Who are your biggest influences?
Grace is a massive fan of Paul Rodgers and Bonnie Raitt. Aaron was very much influenced by epic bands like Guns N Roses and Metallica, but we both love Led Zeppelin and the original blues greats like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. We’d like to think that comes across in our music.
What is next for the band?
We are very excited about the future! We will start writing our next album this winter and go back in the studio in spring to start recording. We have lots of awesome plans for our first headline tour at the end of 2021. But for the time being, we will be keeping our focus very much online and making the most of this time before we go back to living on the road.
When Rivers Meet’s debut album “We Fly Free” is out now via One Road Records.
Visit www.whenriversmeet.co.uk for further info.